The 25 Best Mac And Cheese Recipes You Need To Know About

If you're looking for the best mac and cheese recipes for satisfying, cheesy goodness, then you've come to the right place. There are a lot of reasons to love the dish, and not just because (surprise!) cheese is one the most addictive foods out there, according to science. If you ask us why so many people love mac and cheese, however, one of the reasons that stands out the most is that there are so many different ways to make it. 

No matter how you like your mac and cheese, forget about those boxed versions made with packets of neon-orange powder and sauce; it's time to eat the real thing. Whether you want this classic comfort food baked, made easy with a one-pot method, or using your Instant Pot, we've got you covered with this collection of Mashed mac and cheese recipes. Want it to mimic fast food favorites? We have copycat recipes for Panera, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Chick-Fil-A. Heck, we've even got recipes for mac and cheese sandwiches, tacos ... and a surprising mac and cheese dessert.  

The possibilities of flavor combinations with different cheeses, different noodles, and add-ins are almost endless. Choose your own cheesy adventure below.

1. Slow Cooker Mac And Cheese

This homemade mac and cheese recipe requires no more effort than making a boxed version — the only difference is that you'll have made this from scratch, and it will taste so much better. Just add ingredients to your slow cooker, making sure to have some patience and the strength to stir it. The result is a rich creation that's cheesier and creamier than any instant store-bought mac on the market.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mac And Cheese

2. Ina Garten's Mac And Cheese

The Barefoot Contessa has a particularly decadent take on a classic, cheesy pasta dish. Ina Garten makes her creamy mac and cheese sauce with a blend of cheddar and Gruyère cheese, and adds sliced tomatoes to the top before baking. Our twist on her recipe adds even more flavor with roasted garlic, fresh basil, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Make this big pan of mac and cheese for your family or, like Ina does, for guests at dinner parties.

Recipe: Ina Garten's Mac And Cheese

3. One-Pot Mac And Cheese

Want a homemade mac and cheese that's as simple and straightforward as the instant stuff? You'll love this one-pot mac and cheese recipe that promises to make this winning dinner easier. It'll be fast, too — it only takes 20 minutes. This is also where you can start to learn some one-pot mac and cheese basics: By cooking your pasta in the same liquid you'll be adding cheese and seasoning to, you'll find that it will get infused with whatever flavors you choose to include.

Recipe: One-Pot Mac And Cheese

4. Spinach And Feta Mac And Cheese

Here's another one-pot mac and cheese recipe that's a little healthier. Spinach mixed into the sauce gives your pasta a more robust flavor; it's an easy way to sneak some extra greens into a meal. There's still a hefty amount of cheese thrown in, a blend of Swiss or cheddar cheese with feta crumbles. The recipe makes four servings and can be served with a sprinkle of chopped herbs or a bit of lemon zest.

Recipe: Spinach And Feta Mac And Cheese

5. Copycat Chick-fil-A Mac And Cheese

We've been all about Chick-fil-A's mac and cheese ever since it showed up on its menu in 2019, but we're also all about our recipe for copycat Chick-fil-A mac and cheese. One of the secret ingredients in this recipe is the addition of Gold Bellavitano from Sartori Cheese, which the company's website says "starts like a Parmesan and ends with hints of melted butter." That sounds perfect for mac and cheese! Once you taste this dish, we're certain there'll be no leftovers.

Recipe: Copycat Chick-fil-A Mac And Cheese

6. Copycat Panera Mac And Cheese

If you're one of those people who isn't afraid to admit that you still like Panera's mac and cheese, even after that TikTok video revealed how it's made, we're not judging. The reason it's still on Panera's menu is that lots of people like it. That's why you should try our copycat recipe: It has that same creamy sauce made with cheddar and seasonings. Plus, it takes only 30 minutes and you'll have enough mac and cheese for four people.

Recipe: Copycat Panera Mac And Cheese

7. Grilled Buffalo Chicken Mac And Cheese Sandwich

If you want to load up on carbs in one of the most comforting and indulgent ways possible, look no further than this sandwich filled with mac and cheese. And if after one look at the recipe you're starting to think you'll be overwhelmed by the bread and spicy chicken? No problem, stick to only making the mac! Or maybe make a grilled cheese sandwich filled with buffalo chicken to go with your bowl of saucy noodles. Whatever route you take, the results are indisputably worth the mix of textures and flavors.

Recipe: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Mac And Cheese Sandwich

8. Bacon Weave Taco With Mac And Cheese Filling

This ingenious creation — a mac and cheese taco made with a woven bacon shell — ensures you'll get a taste of salty, crispy bacon with every bite. If it's your first time weaving bacon, don't be intimidated: It's easy once you get the hang of it. The beauty of this recipe is that this beer mac and cheese — yes, you read that right — is made in a slow cooker, leaving you more time to perfect your bacon-weaving abilities.

Recipe: Bacon Weave Taco With Mac And Cheese Filling

9. Spicy Mac And Cheese

This stovetop mac and cheese has a spicy kick that you'll love. It's a great dish to make for dinner, to share at a Super Bowl party, or as an unexpected side dish with other spicy foods like tacos. Use elbow macaroni or other twisted or ridged pastas that will really hold the creamy cheese sauce. The spice comes from pepper Jack cheese, cayenne pepper, and jalapeños — you can always adjust the amounts depending on how hot you want your mac and cheese to be.

Recipe: Spicy Mac And Cheese

10. Binging With Babish's Mac And Cheese

"Binging With Babish" host Andrew Rea has a video on YouTube about how to make the ultimate mac and cheese: creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor. We've added a tantalizing twist to Rea's recipe: porcini mushrooms and grated Gruyère cheese. It includes the clever step of using the umami-packed water left over from rehydrating the mushrooms to create the sauce for this 30-minute stovetop mac and cheese. One taste and you'll immediately chuck all your boxed mac and cheese in the trash.

Recipe: Binging With Babish's Mac And Cheese

11. Pumpkin Mac And Cheese

It's a given that this recipe is perfect for the cool days of fall, but it's also a delicious casserole to make any time of the year. Pumpkin puree (as opposed to fresh pumpkin) adds a bit of sweetness to this savory mac, and it gives the dish a beautiful color, too. It's quick to assemble and bakes for just 35 minutes, so you can make it any night of the week. Add diced ham or shredded chicken for a more filling meal. 

Recipe: Pumpkin Mac And Cheese

12. Chef Jernard Wells' New Soul Kitchen Lobster Mac & Cheese

Chef Jernard Wells, host of CleoTV's "New Soul Kitchen," shared this recipe exclusively with Mashed, and it's a tantalizing take on regular mac and cheese. Bowtie pasta is tossed with a rich, cheddar cheese sauce imbued with nutmeg and paprika. What sets the dish apart is lobster meat that's first cooked in butter and then folded into the cheesy pasta. 

Recipe: Chef Jernard Wells' New Soul Kitchen Lobster Mac & Cheese

13. Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

When a restaurant side dish is as popular as T-bones, ribeyes, and sirloin steaks, you know it must be pretty dang good. That's exactly the case with the mac and cheese at Longhorn Steakhouse. The good news is that if you want a taste of the chain's mac and cheese without dropping a small fortune on dinner (or even leaving the house), our copycat recipe will do the trick. It has four kinds of cheese and chopped bacon, and it's baked until melted and bubbly. 

Recipe: Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

14. Mac And Cheese In A Mug

This recipe is great for college kids in dorms or when you're staying at hotels and Airbnbs with only a microwave for cooking. A single serving of mac and cheese is also nice when you want a snack at home or at the office, but don't want to cook up a large batch of food. Cornstarch helps the sauce of milk and grated cheese come together with a smooth texture, and best of all, it only takes 10 minutes. 

Recipe: Mac And Cheese In A Mug

15. 5-Ingredient Broccoli Mac And Cheese

Make this mac and cheese for your family for dinner, and also keep the recipe on hand to bring a panful to neighbors in need or the next potluck gathering. It's so easy to assemble using leftover rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken. Toss cooked pasta with the meat and broccoli florets, and add a warm blend of milk and your favorite cheese blend. The casserole bakes up in just 15 minutes.   

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Broccoli Mac And Cheese

16. Rachael Ray's Macaroni And Cheese

Rachael Ray's delish macaroni and cheese is made in the classic way: Start with a flour and butter roux as the base for a creamy sauce that's loaded with cheddar cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. A little cayenne pepper adds warmth, color, and a just a hint of spiciness to the noodles. Adding in a handful of healthy kale is our twist on her recipe, one that adds both color and flavor. 

Recipe: Rachel Ray's Macaroni And Cheese

17. Pesto Mac And Cheese

Fans of basil and garlic agree that practically everything is better with pesto — and this mac and cheese is the perfect way to prove it. Choose your favorite jarred pesto or make some homemade pesto sauce. It livens up creamy, cheesy pasta with the vibrant taste and color of herbs. For the cheese, our recipe uses mozzarella and Parmesan, a flavorful blend that's extra gooey once baked. Serve it as a side dish or as a meat-free main dish. 

Recipe: Pesto Mac And Cheese

18. Copycat Trader Joe's Mac And Cheese

Trader Joe's diner-style mac and cheese is sold as a single-serving, frozen brick — and who knows how long ago it was actually prepared before being shipped to the store. Our copycat recipe makes it possible to capture the flavor of that creamy sauce in a fresh, homemade version, plus it makes enough to feed six people. Use elbows or other twisty noodles that will hold on to the cheddar, Havarti, Swiss, and gouda cheese sauce. 

Recipe: Copycat Trader Joe's Mac And Cheese

19. Green Chile Mac And Cheese

Diced green chiles give your mac and cheese a bit of Southwest flavor that's so delicious with the rich, cheesy sauce. Recipe developer Kristen Carli uses a blend of cheeses: cheddar for sharp flavor and pepper jack to add a little heat. If you don't want this dish to be any spicier, substitute Monterey jack for the pepper jack. Use elbow pasta another sturdy shape like cavatappi, rotini, or gemelli.

Recipe: Green Chile Mac And Cheese

20. Air Fryer Mac And Cheese

Mac and cheese made from scratch in an air fryer — this recipe is a revelation! Just find a Pyrex or other oven-proof baking dish that will fit inside your air fryer. From there, it's just a matter of stirring together dry pasta, cream, stock, and two kinds of cheese. After about 25 minutes your creamy and tender mac and cheese is ready. If your air fryer isn't large enough to hold all the ingredients at once, you can halve the recipe or cook it in batches. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Mac And Cheese

21. Copycat Outback Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

On the Outback Steakhouse menu, the Steakhouse Mac And Cheese is not just a side: It's a "premium" side. (In other words, it costs extra.) Instead of paying more for one portion of Outback mac and cheese, make our copycat version and get enough to feed four. To achieve that creamy and cheesy texture, pick up some Velveeta: It's a mac and cheese favorite because it melts so beautifully into a thick, rich sauce. Use a hearty pasta shape like rigatoni, jumbo elbow macaroni, or cavatappi.

Recipe: Copycat Outback Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

22. Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

When made on the stove, the pasta and the sauce for mac and cheese are usually cooked in separate pans. However, when made in an Instant Pot, everything is cooked together: That means fewer dishes to wash and a really short cook time. Our recipe includes three kinds of cheese, including cream cheese, which helps make a smooth, velvety sauce. Add a side of steamed vegetables or warm garlic bread to complete the feast. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

23. Homestyle Mac And Cheese

Here's a great recipe for homemade, oven-baked mac and cheese with a breadcrumb topping that gets toasted and browned over the bubbling, melted cheese. It's made with a simple, roux-thickened sauce and elbow macaroni, although you can use other pasta shapes, too — try rotini or shells. Skip the packages of shredded cheese and grate your own cheddar with a grater. Store-bought cheese shreds are treated with additives to keep the shreds from sticking, which also, unfortunately, prevents them from melting into a smooth sauce. 

Recipe: Homestyle Mac And Cheese

24. Kimchi Mac And Cheese

Of all the possible ingredients to mix into your mac and cheese, kimchi is one of the more flavorful and exciting options. The fermented vegetables add tang, texture, and saltiness to the classic comfort food. Depending on the type of kimchi, it also adds a spicy kick, although the creamy cheese sauce will temper that heat and keep it from overwhelming the dish. The recipe uses a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, and makes enough to serve six people. 

Recipe: Kimchi Mac And Cheese

25. Kraft Mac And Cheese Ice Cream

We couldn't resist including this recipe for the most diehard mac and cheese fans. When Van Leeuwen released pints of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese flavored ice cream, Stephen Colbert called it a "premium ice cream that tastes like things you don't want in your ice cream" (via YouTube). As strange as it sounds, this ice cream flavor combo is surprisingly delicious. Try sweet and salty Kraft Mac & Cheese ice cream for yourself with our homemade version, made with two packets of Kraft mac and cheese powder. 

Recipe: Kraft Mac And Cheese Ice Cream